European countries are grappling with soaring inflation and soaring energy prices resulting from the US-inflamed war in Ukraine, which bears the brunt of Washington’s interventionist policy.
As the Ukrainian conflict nears its sixth month, reports have indicated that prices across Europe are rising dramatically due to high energy and food costs.
The eurozone saw record inflation of 8.6% last month, more than four times the 2% target set by the European Central Bank (ECB). Energy prices rose almost 42% while unprocessed food rose 11.1%.
The European Commission’s economic forecast has given a negative view of what the future holds for the continent, predicting that inflation will remain high throughout 2022 and 2023.
High prices prompted the European Central Bank to raise interest rates for the first time in 11 years.
“The impact of high inflation on purchasing power, continued supply constraints and greater uncertainty are having a dampening effect on the economy,” said ECB Director Christine Lagarde. “Taken together, these factors significantly cloud the outlook for the second half of 2022 and beyond.”
Paolo Gentiloni, the EU’s economy commissioner, said in an interview with Euronews earlier this month that “we are already, so to speak, in troubled waters”.
Gentiloni said the bloc needed to prepare for the worst, including storing energy for the winter, diversifying European energy suppliers and helping vulnerable households cope with high inflation.
Gas flows through Russian pipelines across Europe have declined since the start of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine in late February.
It comes as the Pentagon announced a new $775 million package of military equipment and ammunition for Ukraine, including Himars missiles, artillery and demining systems.
The United States has so far donated billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a special military operation there with the aim of “demilitarizing” and “denazifying” the country.
Ranging from anti-armour missiles to helicopters and beyond, publicly announced lethal aid packages have already topped $8 billion, with the vast majority of transfers being made under the authority of the Presidential Drawdown Authority.
Russia has repeatedly warned that US and NATO arms supplies to Ukraine are fueling the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv and could have unpredictable consequences.
Putin said on Tuesday that the United States was prolonging the war in Ukraine as part of what he called Washington’s efforts to maintain its global hegemony.
“The situation in Ukraine shows that the United States is trying to prolong the conflict,” the Russian leader said, adding that Washington “is using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder. They need conflict to maintain their hegemony.
Moreover, the energy crisis in Europe appears to be worsening as Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Friday that Moscow would cut off natural gas supplies to Europe for three days at the end of the month through its main gas pipeline. In the region.
Gazprom said the shutdown was due to the only remaining compressor in the pipeline requiring maintenance.
Maintaining the pipeline is likely to deepen the energy stalemate between Moscow and Brussels, which has already contributed to soaring inflation in the region and heightened the risk of rationing and recession.
Since the start of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine on February 24, the United States and its European allies as well as Canada have imposed waves of sanctions against Moscow, despite its warning that such punitive measures will eventually backfire. .
While the EU accused Russia of cutting off supplies in retaliation for the sanctions, Moscow insisted the sanctions had made technical maintenance of the pipeline very difficult for the Russian company.